‘That’s my job’: accounting for division of labour amongst heterosexual first time parents
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For heterosexual couples who enter into parenthood, having a first child often has a significant impact on the ways in which their lives are organised. Importantly, women typically take on the greatest share of household and care work, reflecting broader cultural norms in relation to gender. Drawing on case studies of four Australian heterosexual couples, this article examines the ways in which the couples discussed the distribution of household and care work. By tracking the same couples from prior to pregnancy to after the birth of their child, we are able to focus on expectations and ideals in relation to unpaid and paid work, and how these relate to what happens in practice. The cases suggest four key issues, namely (1) the positioning of household and care work as not being work, (2) the positioning of women as ‘lucky’ if their male partner is ‘helpful’, (3) the primary orientation of men towards earning a paid income as a way of providing for their family, and (4) the unequal distribution of caring responsibility. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these issues with regard to how the division of labour is understood in the context of heterosexual first-time parents.
Please note: Published version includes a French translation of the Abstract. “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Community, Work & Family on 10 April 2018, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ full/10.1080/13668803.2018.1462763” This manuscript version is made available under the CCBY- NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ This author accepted manuscript is made available following 18 month embargo from date of publication (April 2018) in accordance with the publisher’s archiving policy.